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Contract scandal: Our story, by House of Reps leadership

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja and PAUL ORUDE, Bauchi on 2007/08/24 | Views: 451 |

Contract scandal: Our story, by House of Reps leadership


The furore over the alleged N620 million contract for the renovation of the official residences of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh and her deputy, Hon. Babangida Sai’du Ngoroje, has refused to die down, with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday asking for immediate probe of the scam.

• NLC calls for probe, group demands impeachment

The furore over the alleged N620 million contract for the renovation of the official residences of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh and her deputy, Hon. Babangida Sai’du Ngoroje, has refused to die down, with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday asking for immediate probe of the scam.

This coming at a time the leadership of the House of Representatives stated its position in the saga.

The NLC frowned at a situation in which lawmakers would use their offices as conduit pipe to siphon public funds into private pockets and asked the House to redeem its image before Nigerians by coming clean on the issue.
Labour’s demand is coming as the North East Youth Progressive Forum called for the immediate impeachment of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House, saying they lacked moral justification to remain in office.

The NLC, in a statement signed by its General-Secretary, Mr. John Odah, said the contract sum in question was too outrageous, especially against the background of the fact that the structures had just been vacated by their predecessors.

"So it can not be argued that the houses had been abandoned and were in a state of disrepair before the new two tenants moved in. If an official quarter would need over N300 million for renovation, how much would be needed to actually construct the houses?" the labour union asked.
Demanding that the scam be probed forthwith, NLC warned the political leaders that Nigerians would no longer tolerate profligacy by government officials even when there was no visible evidence of performance.

The NLC calls on the House of Representatives to redeem its image in the eyes of Nigerians by investigating the matter, with a view to ensuring a refund of public funds so mindlessly wasted.
The Congress warns political leaders that Nigerians were tired of this prodigal culture of wasting public funds while public institutions like our schools and hospitals are in a state of decay.

"Public officers must know that they will be held accountable for frivolous expenditure they entered into using public funds. In a society like ours, with so much poverty, public officers must reflect this reality in all they do. This outrageous expenditure reflects the mindset and insensitivity of many public officers who think their positions should be used to further impoverish the public," the statement read.

The North East Youth Progressive Forum while calling for the immediate impeachment of the Speaker and her Deputy Speaker, said the action of the Speaker indicated the insensitivity of public office holders to the feelings of those who voted them into office.

Asserting this at a press conference in Bauchi, the General Secretary of the forum, Comrade Adamu Isa, expressed regrets over the attempt to deny the allegation in the media by the aides of the principal officers of the House, saying that Etteh and Nguroje had no moral justification to remain in office.
Frowning at the action of the Speaker in approving the contract, Isa opined that Mrs Etteh had clearly deviated from her promise not to let the womenfolk down during her inauguration on June 5.

Clarifying issues, however, the House leadership, in a statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, on Thursday said the controversy was the handiwork of a few disgruntled and inordinately ambitious members.

In the statement entitled: "How Matters Stand in the House," the House leadership regretted that media reports of the internal crisis in the last two weeks could cast members as "unserious and insensitive in the face of monumental challenges of governance and the suffering of Nigerians.".

Ubani said the contract was actually awarded for N238 million. According to him, necessary steps were taken to get the Federal Capital Development Administration (FCDA), which owns the property and had responsibility of renovating it. He said the National Assembly had to take it over after the FCDA said it had no funds to execute the project and consequently advised the National Assembly to consider other ways of funding it.

Ubani said contrary to reports, none of the contracts breached any procedure. On the huge cost, the lawmaker said the job was extended to include the rebuilding of the perimeter fence, outside works and furnishing of the four houses in the complex on which, he disclosed, the last major work was done in 2003.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.